When I tell my husband I have to brush my hair or change my clothes before I leave the house, he invariably responds with ‘it doesn’t matter’. When I tell him we have to tidy up the house, he usually tells me to relax and let it be, to stop worrying about such small things. For a landscaper, he has a strange disregard for aesthetics in any other area. But when a leaf or branch is out of place, a pair of clippers will appear from nowhere to dispatch with the offending object. You would think he would understand.
I don’t have time for the sub par. Time moves very fast and we live only once (at least that we are aware of). I feel good when I am reading a beautiful book to my beautiful children, while listening to good music in a clean uncluttered home whose large windows looks out onto beautiful vistas, where the air smells good, and after eating delicious food. I want the textures we touch to be pleasing. I want the clothing we wear to be simple and attractive. I want our spaces to be bright and airy and tidy. I want the sights, smells and sounds we are surrounded with to be beautiful.
This extends to movement as well. I enjoy yoga, in part because of the beauty in the forms of the poses. Dancing is an obvious example, though I doubt anyone would accuse me of being a beautiful dancer. Skiing is my favorite example. First of all, what is more glorious than snow covered peaks, expansive vistas, and clean crisp high mountain air? Nothing, except for the feeling of making beautiful turns in the snow, the feeling that comes with good form, muscle control and execution. I love skiing in general, but when I can pull off doing it beautifully, then I feel as if I truly belong on the mountain and all its glory.
It is easy to dismiss these things as lowly, materialistic, or vain and hedonistic. But I believe beauty to be very important to living a good life. And this doesn’t have to be expensive. In fact, having less makes it easier to keep a clean home. A couple quality items costs the same as many cheap ones. Keep less, but make it good. We are also blessed to live in a beautiful place, but we gave up a great deal to make that a priority. Every day I am grateful for that choice.
We perceive the world through our senses. Our experience of the world is through our senses. It stands to reason that the intangibles of thought and love will be filtered through these senses. Our mind and hearts may reflect the beauty that our senses experience. As we roll through the holidays, thinking of gratitude and giving and taking stock of the year and our choices, here’s to maintaining a simple and beautiful life.
Here’s a link to a discussion on Beauty in Western Philosophy as more fuel for the fire.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Beauty
I always forget the roll that studying philosophy had in shaping my thoughts and outlook, though I am so far separated from my studies that I can rarely point to any direct philosophic lineage.